Palestinians stick to call for settlement freeze



JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinians are sticking to their demand for an Israeli settlement construction freeze in the West Bank, complicating President Barack Obama’s latest peace drive.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with a pair of American envoys in Jordan Thursday. Negotiator Saeb Erekat said Abbas agreed with Obama’s vision of two states based on the pre-1967 war lines but insisted on “stopping settlement activities.”

Peace talks broke down in September with the expiration of an Israeli moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank.

The Palestinians have refused to negotiate without a new one. Israel is demanding talks without preconditions.

Obama’s call for talks did not mention a new settlement freeze. U.S. officials have indicated it is not essential to restart talks.